estuary: A semi-enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries are often associated with high rates of biological productivity.
Our first visit to Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve was last February, while geocaching with Dave and Barb. We gave up on finding the cache because recent rains had made the boardwalk where it was located waterlogged. Remember Bog Reflections? Later that same day, though, we did find a cache located on the estuary itself.
We knew then we would want to come back.
Most of our morning was spent on long boardwalks seeing and learning about Weeks Bay habitat.
- Flora: We began today's visit at the Pitcher Plant Bog AKA the Kurt G. Wintermeyer Trail, a joint project of Weeks Bay Reserve Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs programs. (That was a mouthful, wasn't it?) Although we pretty much had the whole place to ourselves, the descriptive signs served as a knowledgeable tour guide.
It’s easy to see why these plants were given this name, when you look at them. They come in several varieties and colors and have an appetite for insects. Since neither of us had seen a pitcher plant until today, our experiences fall into the familiar category of “don’t believe I’ve ever seen anything like this before.” As we've traveled during the last several years, we've said that phrase so many times we've lost count.
- Fauna: We encountered lots of butterflies, a tiny salamander and a black-tailed squirrel different from any we'd ever seen before. Unfortunately, it scooted up a tall tree before we could take a decent photo of it. Weeks Bay is also home to many varieties of birds, and its website serves to encourage birdwatching.
After completing the tour of the pitcher plant bog, we briefly visited the Interpretive Center, then explored another long boardwalk.
See more Weeks Bay photos on flickr
So can you tell that we really like this place?
We’ve been sorta at loose ends ever since we completed our previous volunteer jobs at Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery in Kentucky. Since it's so close to home, we're considering volunteering one day a week or so at Weeks Bay, to help visitors enjoy this beautiful natural area while we learn more about it ourselves.
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